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Blackboard Cloud Migration: System Unavailable January 2 - 8, 2017

posted Dec 15, 2016, 10:14 AM by Lauren Woods

Illinois Tech is undertaking a major revision to how Blackboard is hosted and managed. We expect that starting with the Spring 2017 semester, you should see improved performance. In addition, this initiative will allow us in the future to take greater advantage of new features as they become available.

This revision is a major undertaking, and completing the final steps in this work involve making Blackboard temporarily unavailable to users. The Blackboard system will be down starting January 2, 2017 through January 8, 2017; this is the week immediately preceding the start of the upcoming semester. 

Blackboard will be available before the start of classes on Monday, January 9, 2017, and we will try to make it available earlier if possible.

During the blackout window of January 2-8, 2017, users will not be able to interact with any content/data in Blackboard, nor will the Support Desk, other parts of OTS, IIT Online, etc.

However, until the system is taken down on January 2: 


  • Faculty can work on Spring 2017 courses and all work will be migrated over to the new system.

  • Students, as always, have access approximately 3 weeks before the start of the semester to the courses in which they are enrolled. If instructors have made content available, students will be able to view those materials before the blackout window.


If you have questions, please contact the IIT Support Desk at 312-567-3375 or supportdesk@iit.edu. Please keep in mind that university offices, including IIT Online and the Support Desk, will be closed from December 26 through January 2.

We apologize for the inconvenience and fully understand that any disruption is undesirable. We sincerely believe that the decision to complete the migration at this time is the best of all available options. Thank you in advance for your patience and understanding.

Thursdays @ IIT Online

posted Feb 1, 2016, 1:37 PM by Lauren Woods

Want to learn more about specific features in Blackboard? 

Join IIT Online's Brad Katz and Katie Burns on Thursdays in the Collaboration Space in IIT Online offices (Stuart Building, Room 103). Each Thursday a different topic will be discussed in depth - this week, the topic is SafeAssign + Assignments. See details about this and other upcoming topics in IIT Today, or in the Blackboard Training calendar below. 

Illinois Tech Blackboard Changes for Fall 15

posted Aug 12, 2015, 12:57 PM by Lauren Woods   [ updated Aug 13, 2015, 7:54 AM ]

We have made a number of changes to Blackboard for the coming term. Some of these are look-and-feel changes like the color scheme; some of these are functional changes to streamline and optimize access; some of these are added features like adding Organizations to the system. To preview a few screenshots, take a look at New UI for Fall 15.

Courses themselves should perform the same.

You should see these changes in Blackboard after OTS's maintenance window on Friday 8.14.15  

As always, if you have requests for, questions about, or issues with technical performance of the main Blackboard system or Blackboard Collaborate, please contact the OTS Support Desk.

If you are faculty, a teaching assistant, or staff and need training or would like consultation around usage and application best practices, please contact IIT Online. In addition, if you are in one of these groups, IIT Online will be offering training/orientation sessions. Please consult this for more detailed information: http://iit.edu/news/iittoday/?p=46179

Blackboard Collaborate Live Session: Plan & Publish, Friday 10 am - 12pm CT

posted Jan 22, 2015, 9:48 AM by Lauren Woods

Just a quick reminder that our last live session with Blackboard will be tomorrow, beginning at 10am. If you have not yet attended a session, it is strongly recommended that you review the earlier recordings prior to attending. To join the session online, you must first be enrolled as a student/participant in the Collaborate Training (BB_TD_COLLABORATE_TRAINING) course shell in the permanent training term in Blackboard. The course is self-enrolling with an access code; we created directions to assist. Session descriptions, schedules, and instructions for accessing the Collaborate tool for the first time can be found here

The topic is Plan & Publish. Plan & Publish are additional tools that enable you to organize, script, and package or record content and activities BEFORE your real-time, online session or record them for later viewing. Participants in this workshop will get a fresh look at incorporating effective content development principles for Blackboard Collaborate. Workshop participants will learn how to identify, design, develop, organize, and prepare their content to support dynamic, interactive learning in a Blackboard Collaborate web conferencing session. Upon completion of this workshop, learners will be able to:

  • Describe the benefits of using Plan

  • Identify the content types that are supported in Plan

  • Prepare a plan by creating a plan file with content and actions

  • Utilize actions to activate session tool

  • Deliver a session by loading and running a Blackboard Collaborate Plan file in a session.

  • Identify Recording Distribution options using Blackboard Collaborate Publish

  • Convert a Blackboard Collaborate web conferencing recording to a multimedia format, an audio format and an unplugged format

Blackboard Faculty Updates - Spring 15

posted Jan 12, 2015, 1:16 PM by Lauren Woods

We have enabled a number of exciting new features in Blackboard Learn for the Spring 15 term: Inline Grading and Blackboard Collaborate integration.

Inline Grading

Faculty using Bb Learn to post assignments and receive student work can now review that work and comment on it online without having to download those documents. We expect this to be much more convenient for faculty and students and a very powerful tool, particularly in combination with SafeAssign, Bb's the integrated plagiarism/originality feature. For a general explanation of inline grading, please watch this brief video from Blackboard. Faculty may also contact IIT Online's Brad Katz, bkatz2@iit.edu, with questions about this feature.

Blackboard Collaborate

In addition to the Bb Learn LMS, Illinois Tech is now licensed across the university to use Collaborate. Collaborate is a synchronous tool with a shared whiteboard and application sharing, as well as A/V and text-based chat, breakout rooms, live polling, and recording. It is fully integrated with Learn as a tool and can leverage student rosters and the Grade Center. There are also stand-alone mobile apps (iOS and Android) for Collaborate. We are really excited about the the potential for this tool but we must also highlight that there is a learning curve and a need for practice before one might use it effectively. In addition, live sessions present a different need for service/support responsiveness. To make sure that everyone has the best experience, we strongly encourage faculty to contact IIT Online for more details before using Collaborate.

Collaborate Session January 9

posted Jan 8, 2015, 10:17 AM by Lauren Woods

The 4th and final live session to learn Collaborate, the web conferencing tool integrated into Blackboard, will take place tomorrow, Friday, January 9, from 10 am - noon. This session will be held online, in the Collaborate system. To get the link to participate, you must be enrolled as a student/participant in the Collaborate Training (BB_TD_COLLABORATE_TRAINING) course shell which can be found in the permanent training term in Blackboard. The course is self-enrolling with an access code; we created directions (which include the access code) to make it easy to enroll.  

If you would like to participate in this session, it is very strongly recommended that you review the three prior recordings of sessions already conducted to familiarize yourself with this Collaborate tool. Session descriptions, schedules, and instructions for accessing the Collaborate tool for the first time can be found here

Sessions start again in January!

posted Dec 23, 2014, 12:17 PM by Lauren Woods

Blackboard Learn and Collaborate overview sessions for faculty are now scheduled for January. Here's the information posted in IIT Today. 

Collaborate is Illinois Tech's new synchronous online collaboration tool that will be available in every course shell with the spring semester. If you are faculty and interested in learning more about this new tool, attend an overview session and check out the new Collaborate Training (BB_TD_COLLABORATE_TRAINING) course shell in the permanent training term in Blackboard. The course is self-enrolling with an access code; we created directions to make it easy to enroll. It is strongly recommended that faculty review the recordings of sessions already conducted to become familiar with this new tool. The course also contains resources and additional information to assist in using Collaborate. Recording and workshop descriptions, schedules, and instructions for accessing the Collaborate tool for the first time can be found here.

Updates & Enhanced Features for Blackboard!

posted Aug 7, 2014, 9:59 AM by Lauren Woods   [ updated Aug 18, 2014, 8:10 AM ]

Coming Soon: New Blackboard Features! Blackboard Learn (Bb) was updated to the latest service pack during the August 15, 2014, routine OTS service window. This update includes regular software updates plus a few new features to improve the student and faculty functionality and experience. New features include SafeAssign integration into the Assignment function, and a trueStudent Preview ability. You may also notice a few other features in this update. Over the semester, the Bb at IIT team may more formally introduce these additional features and provide additional faculty training. In the meantime, please look at the new walk-throughs and cheat sheets in IIT Bb Resources and wherever you see a NEW 8/14: note. You can also learn more at a faculty session, sign up under Training.

Feb SLATE Meeting

posted Feb 13, 2014, 8:18 AM by Brad Katz

The main topic for SLATE's February 2.19.14 meeting is a "Course Design Showcase & Panel":

"Every institution with online courses deals with online course design.  This panel will be an opportunity for institutions to highlight what they are doing in their online courses and compare notes on design do's and don’ts.  Panel members will be invited to share an online course (or more) to highlight the types of tools, activities, and resources they are utilizing and ask the group for suggestions on areas they are still trying to improve."

This is an open meeting and participation is free but an RSVP for face-to face attendees is requested by 2.17.14. Please follow this link if you want more details: 

You can also log in and watch/participate remotely via the web.

SLATE is an acronym for Supporting Learning and Technology in Education and was formed in part as our regional Blackboard user group. It is platform independent, though, and member institutions use a range of LMS solution including Moodle and Canvas. The focus tends to be on practice rather than specific tools:

"SLATE was created from the concept that all institutions that are deploying and/or currently using Web-based components to enhance their teaching and learning activities, have the same questions, the same challenges, and the need for the same solutions. By drawing together the expertise of the people involved in the entire academic experience and those designing, supporting, and using these applications; faculty support staff, systems administrators, instructional designers, librarians, online and distance education programs, and students - a broader and more accessible and dynamic support system could be established. Our current membership comes from K-12, Higher Education, and the Corporate sector and in general, anyone using technology in teaching and learning regardless of platform."

For more information, visit the Slate website: http://www.slategroup.org/

You can also reach out to Brad Katz (bkatz2@iit.edu or 312.567.7213) with questions.

Blackboard Update: Old Blackboard 8 Decommissioning Targeted for December 13

posted Nov 22, 2013, 12:13 PM by Lauren Woods   [ updated Nov 22, 2013, 12:15 PM ]

Please be aware that access to the old Blackboard 8 system (used prior to Spring 2013) will end with the end of this semester. If faculty have any courses or content to keep from the old system, please use the export feature now to save content to a personal system before Friday night, December 13. That is the routine OTS maintenance window when OTS will decommission Blackboard 8.

Should faculty need any old course content (again, this is ONLY for CONTENT PRIOR TO January 2013), please export it and save it to your own computer until ready to import it into the current system, Blackboard 9.1. Faculty may use individual MyIIT credentials to log into the old system at http://oldblackboard.iit.edu/. Faculty may review courses there and if necessary, export courses and/or content before December 13. In a rare instance where a faculty member may need to access content from Blackboard 8 after this time, faculty will need to open a support request through the Support Desk.

To assist with exporting and importing content, faculty should make use of these resources:

  • A short how-to video about Importing and Exporting Courses on IIT Online’s Blackboard at IIT Google Site,http://media.iitonline.iit.edu/common/blackboard/training/bb_import_export.mp4. In the video, Brad Katz covers how to export content from the old 8 system and import to the new 9 system, as well as how to export/import within 9 itself.
  • Brad also has office hours twice a week to support faculty with Blackboard and other educational technologies. Typically held on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, see the University Calendar to confirm dates and times. IIT Online offices are located at 103 Stuart Building on main campus.
  • Cheat sheets and additional resources for exporting and importing content are available at the Blackboard at IITGoogle site.
  • Contact supportdesk@iit.edu.

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